I feel like God blesses me with a few moments of seeing my life in a "big picture" sort of way everyone once in a while. Times when everything clicks and I see things in relation to eternity instead of in relation to things that just don't matter in the long run. I feel like sometimes I am just fighting trying to be better and do better and I just feel like a failure and then God opens up my mind for a few seconds and I can grasp onto the fact that he loves me unconditionally and that the reason I feel so unsatisfied sometimes is because I wasn't created to be satisfied here on earth and that the reason heaven will be so sweet is because that constant longing in my heart that I cannot satisfy with things I buy, ways I succeed, or the relationships with my husband or children.
I'm visiting a sweet college friend who has twin girls and with 4 children to tote around even simply getting to church was a feat! Something is going on with Sullivan (the doctors think he could possibly have allergies like Barclay) and he has been up nearly all night just wailing. I was so tired yesterday that I couldn't really see straight until about 11 am and after a cup of coffee. Sullivan was crying so I could not stay in the service to listen to the sermon. This isn't unusual for my Sunday mornings lately. The church I visited had a library in the foyer with all kinds of books that you could purchase. I didn't have any cash on me so I browsed them, mentally noting titles of books that I would like to read one day. I stumbled upon the book Stepping Heavenward (http://http://www.amazon.com/Stepping-Heavenward-Journey-Godliness-Inspirational/dp/1577483421/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1316443312&sr=8-13). I remembered my mother giving it to me to read when I was about 12. I think I read the first two chapters and just gave up. But it was so RELAVENT to me at this time in my life! It was written in the 1800's by a girl with gumption (as I'd like to refer to a real zest for life!). As I skimmed through my heart just identified with her so much in her struggles and her lack of an eternal view. And she lived a good 130 years before me! I just giggled to myself as I read her account of a fight with her husband...it was so real and so familiar. I ordered a copy off ebay (from 1901) for 12 dollars and I am so looking forward to reading it!
I also was able to read a little pamphlet that was entitled The High Calling of Motherhood. It convicted me so much of where my prioreties are. I know this might be a little contraversal to others and I'm not saying I agree with it 100%, but it was so nice to read something so straight forward instead of something trying to be politically correct. You can read the whole thing HERE (http://http://www.reformedreader.org/rbb/chantry/motherhood.htm). Again, it was looking at everything we do here on earth with an eternal view instead of a view of what we can gratify ourselves with.
Now, I am so blessed to have a job that I love, and SO blessed that I am able to stay home with my children most of the day. I always wanted to be a stay at home mom, I never imagined I would WANT to have a job. But here I am with a job that I love, not one that I HAVE to do to make ends meet. One of the sentences that just resonnated in my heart was that women like to work because they get a pay check immediately and it gratifies them. Whereas motherhood is not like that. We do all this HARD work day in and day out and we dont' see results until years and years later (if at all). I am so guilty of this. I do not think there is anything wrong with working. I do not think there is anything wrong with doing something I love. I do think that I have a little problem with accepting every single photo opportunity that comes my way. I bend over backwards to make them work instead of protecting my time and my family and not scheduling them back to back. Not only does it affect the time that I am photographing people, it really affects my days as I am usually sitting at a computer, editing for several hours a day as my chidlren run around tearing up the house and I get SO impatient with them for not letting me do my work. It takes away from everything. More than a pay check, I love getting positive feedback from people. It just fills my heart up when I hear how beautiful my photos are and how talented I am. Every single facebook comment just makes me feel that much better about myself. It's one of the only areas in life I feel successful at. No one praises me after each diaper I change. No one cheers for me when I discipline for the hundreth time. Of course I would prefer the former!
Another sentence that really resonated with me was this: " Some day the glamour girls who leave their children in a nursery will reap their reward. They will sit in their plush houses with their fat bank accounts and will look with envy at godly seed."
Please here me, I do not think that a working mother equals children growing up to not love God. I'm not saying that at all. But it really gripped my heart that at the end of my days, seeing children that I have mothered, and tried my best to daily point to christ will matter so much more than any money or reccognition that I had.
In conclusion, I was greatly encouraged to do what I've known for a long time now and that is greatly cut back my business. This means saying no (which I am not good at), this means not giving discounts or doing free work for friends (as much as I LOVE doing that, it takes away much more time than the few hours it takes to photograph them, from my family). It means making my family my priorety.
Believe me. I KNOW I'm blessed. I KNOW that many women either want to stay home and cannot because of finances or simply just love working and I do NOT fault them one bit. In fact, so many of my close friends do both. I'm just saying that I, personally, was convicted of an idol in my life and that was getting praised for my work. I admit that I have put my work in front of everything. In front of my husband, my relationship with God, my children, my housework...
I really want to work on switching that around. This does not mean I'm not going to do photography. I love it and I really think that it's a talent I've been given and it gives me so much JOY!
I was also struck (like a TON of bricks) with the great task I've been entrusted with! It's not just keeping children alive for 18 years, I am the MOST influential person in their lives. With God's help, I am literally shaping their views of God and their attitude and actions.
I'm so thankful the Lord can speak to me and encourage me in all kinds of circumstances. And I just wanted to share some thoughts.